The Twins have officially parted ways with one of the most popular figures of the last decade.
Don’t worry, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau aren’t going anywhere, for now anyway.
The Dome Dog, however, has been granted an outright release.
The Twins and Hormel—the company that makes Dome Dogs—released statements today regarding the split, which reportedly only pertains to hot dogs as Hormel is believed to be the supplier for other products at Target Field.
"Hormel and the Twins decided to part ways after a great…corporate relationship," said team spokesman Kevin Smith via e-mail.
The future of the Dome Dog—or some re-branded version of the Dome Dog—has been in limbo for more than a year .
In the end, it seems that the increased cost of sponsorships and advertisements at Target Field was the breaking point.
"After reviewing the change in cost for sponsorships at the new stadium, we decided to focus on different marketing initiatives in 2010," said Julie Craven, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel Foods.
The Dome Dog was a staple at the Metrodome since 2001 when the Twins partnered up with the local company based out of Austin, Minnesota.
Over the years, Hormel played a major role in the Metrodome and not just by filling up hungry baseball fans. Hormel has also played a major role in numerous marketing campaigns and special deals for fans.
Hormel sponsored both the “Hormel Dollar-A-Dog Night” on Wednesdays and the “Hormel Hot Dog Row of Fame,” a nightly event that rewarded one lucky row of fans with free hot dogs.
It was on one of the aforementioned “Dollar-a-Dog Nights” that one of the more infamous events in recent memory took place.
Chuck Knoblauch returned to the Metrodome to play left field for the New York Yankees in 2001 and was showered in cheap—yet tasty—hot dogs from the stands.
The situation got so bad that both club’s managers and legendary public-address announcer Bob Casey had to beg the fans to stop so that the Twins wouldn’t be forced to forfeit the game.
No matter your opinion, it is undeniable that the Dome Dog has become just as much a part of watching a Twins game as cheering Joe Mauer and waving homer hankies in October.
As such—be it for taste or merely for nostalgia—the Dome Dog will be missed.
Luckily, Target Field will not be without the baseball staple for long as the organization has already lined up a new local vendor to fill the void the Dome Dog will leave behind.
"Hot dogs and baseball go together hand in glove,” Smith said. “We will be making an announcement in the weeks ahead about what the future of the hot dog is in Target Field."